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Receipting Canadian Tax Receipts

Are you recording your donations in Salesforce? Yes, that’s great! You’re probably using the Opportunities object to do so. But how are you generating tax receipts? As a nonprofit, you surely know that promptly receipting your donors is a crucial part of the fundraising cycle. If you are a Canadian organization, this is a task you may struggle with due to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) tax receipting requirements. In this post, we will explore some of the CRA requirements and several solutions that may work for you.


The CRA requires every receipt to carry a sequential serial number. Should a receipt be corrected or replaced, the new copy must carry the same number. While some organizations use an auto-number field to populate the receipt serial number, this can be tricky when trying to create a duplicate or replacement receipt. Salesforce will generate a new number for the new record. There are several workarounds for this depending on your data model and business processes. For example, the receipt number can be recorded on the Donation object and will then remain the same regardless of how many child Receipt records you may have. Another option is to manually enter the serial number as you create receipts.


Another tax receipt requirement involves replacing and duplicating receipts. Suppose you need to correct a receipt that was already created. As mentioned above, the serial number of the newly issued receipt must be the same as the original. Additionally, both copies need to kept and marked as cancelled and duplicate, respectively. Using a receipt status field can be a simple way to accomplish that. You can also automate your instance to generate a duplicate receipt when the original is cancelled.


An organization can only receipt donors for the cash value of their donation. This means if the donor receives a benefit from this donation, they can not be receipted for the full amount. For example, an organization hosts a fundraising dinner and sells tickets for $150 a person. The event cost per person is valued at $50, therefore, the donor is only receipted for $100. Additionally, the reason for this adjusted amount must be listed on the receipt.

Gift-in-kind donations also require specific information such as fair market value, descriptions of goods and in some cases, the appraiser details.

For both of these scenarios, custom fields can help. Some of this can even be automated with formula fields and field updates that will calculate the receipt value based off other entered values.


In most cases, the best way to record and produce tax receipts is by creating a custom object (e.g. Tax Receipt) that is a child record to the Donation object. This will allow you to aggregate the information needed and use formula fields to display donor information, donation amount and other relevant data. You can also create receipt specific fields such as “status”, “full benefit value”, and “receipted date.”

Using your preferred mail merge application, you can then create a tax receipt document template and merge the records as needed. Some third party applications allow you to transverse parent objects facilitating the merge field selections. While some organizations prefer to email the tax receipts, CRA regulations require that receipts also be available in a printable manner.


Working with an implementation partner, such as Cloud for Good, is a great way to ensure that your processes and receipting capabilities will be CRA compliant. A good partner will be able to provide you with robust functionality to accomplish this. Your project consultant is also your trusted adviser and should be able to carefully review your business processes and requirements to assist you in making the right decisions.

Some third party fundraising tools come with comprehensive receipting options. Causeview is an example of such an application. Their receipting model was designed to accommodate Canadian nonprofits and is customized so for each client’s needs.


Another tool available is a relatively new application created by James Murphy. After downloading the Tax Receipt App, you can customize the receipt template by uploading a logo, digital signature, and configuring several receipt fields. These settings are then used in a Visualforce page which will actually create the receipt. There are several custom fields to add to your donation record types which allow you to choose whether the donation is to be receipted now or at the end of the year, modify the receipt amount, record any personal benefit and my favorite….who gets receipted (account or contact).  This is a great feature and will populate the donor coordinates according to the selection. You can also setup workflows to automatically populate these fields according to your business process.

To generate the receipts, there is a Tax Receipt tab with a step-by-step wizard to create the receipt and email/print each one. Additionally, the option to cancel a receipt will generate a duplicate updated record and bring you to the wizard.

While this App is still in it’s early stages, it has great potential for improved functionality and customization. Out of the box, it offers the basics to produce Canadian Tax Receipts. However, there is currently no option to customize the template according to your organization’s branding and design.

As is common with Salesforce, there are many ways to achieve a single objective. Using a custom object or App are both valid starting points to consider when looking for a way to generate Canadian tax receipts. The best solution will depend on your business model and needs. Once you determine this, Salesforce can be customized to suit your requirements.

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